Friday, October 29, 2004

Far Above Cayoga Water...

I was in Ithaca for a few days to do recruiting at Cornell. On my first day, we had a few events in the CS department. Professor Birman actually remembered me after 7 years. He started talking about his new research project on managing clusters. It sounded very interesting. I'll follow up with him later. I also saw Dan Jenkins.

A few weeks ago, an old friend of mine S (not 'the' Es) sent me an email to let me know that he's now working from Ithaca. S is really an interesting, friendly, and warm person. And from what I can tell, he has an easy time making friends. S and I were close during my senior year. But sadly we had lost touch after graduation; this was major bummer as I later found out that he lived in Palo Alto in 00-01. He picked me up in front of college town bagels. As soon as I entered his car, it was as if time was rolled back to 1996. Literally, it felt like I had never left. The first thing we both told each other was “hala, koja boodeem” (now, where were we?). S & I replayed the tape and talked about a lot of great memories.

We went to a new restaurant / bar right across from the old stella's coffee shop. It's done really nice. After dinner, a few people came to join us for some "Fancy Ceylon tea" and just chatted about random things. A few months ago, I came across a farsi blog written by someone at cornell: It is so random that I happened to meet her too. I really enjoyed meeting all of them -- a real delightful bunch of folks. To my surprise, some of the students -- esp the ugrads -– thought that I was 23 or 24! College town was very happening on Wednesday night because the Red Sox won and on Thursday because it's the start of ugrad's weekend.

In summary, my trip was a long overdue dosage of Ithaca. It was the kind of trip that is as valuable and necessary as a long vacation, visiting nature, or eating our favorite home cooked meal. And unlike a reunion, my visit had a perfect balance of having S around to provide ties with the past and meeting new folks to make me feel as if I was still there and never left in 97. I made a few friends and learned a thing or two about how students use the internet these days.

I'm forever grateful to S. I always had a real sweet spot for Ithaca and Cornell. And it's nice to rejuvenate that feeling, in particular after so many years in California under Stanford's influence. Ithaca is a very international, liberal, and beautiful city. I can certainly live there.

The fall in Ithaca is really beautiful.

Por kon pyale ra.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I started using GMail from April. Recently I logged into my Yahoo mail to see what I had received. Look at this, 10 messages from Democrats: Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Edwards, etc... Granted, I signed up as a volunteer on some democratic party web site. But I don't think this is how you win an election. It's one thing to get an email or two. But this is more than 1 a day! Spam filters will soon label these as junk mail. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A few weeks ago, I bought a nice road bike for myself; check out its cool web site at It's amazing that bike technology has changed so much from 7 years ago when I was last shopping around. Carbon forks, disc brakes, hybrids, etc are all new things. My bike, for example, has Zerts -- a clear little insert -- in the fork and seatpost to obsorb vibarations and thus my bike handles a little like classic steal frames. The one thing that I found true when trying road bikes is that the geometry matters the most. You can't see the difference, but a few inches here and there make a big difference in your posture and how your weight is distributed. The Roubaix just felt like an extension of myself in the first 10 seconds of the road test. So it was an easy decision. The difference between 105 and Ultegra components was much harder to notice. I try to do bike on all non-rainy weekday mornings. It was a little too cold this morning. So I think I need to buy some warm gear.